Having been plagued by Houthi 5-year siege and fatal epidemics, the Yemeni southwestern city of Taiz is currently facing risks of being dragged into unjustified infighting between fellow forces all of which led by the internationally-recognized government.
After more than a year of delay, al-Turba town in south of Taiz city is about to host a battle pitting the Islah party against battalions affiliated to the 35th armored brigade (whose command close to Tariq Saleh, nephew of late President Ali Abdullah Saleh) and supported by the Emirati-backed Abu al-Abbas Battalions seeking revenge against Islah that expelled them from the city last year.
Two days ago, the Islah party (Muslim Brotherhood offshoot in Yemen) seized al-Turba by help of MP, after laying siege to a site of the 35th brigade on Sabaran Mont overlooking the town, as part of a "security campaign".
Military police forces carried out a "campaign against elements wanted by security over abduction of a panel tasked with collecting khat taxes in al-Samsara area," MP commander, Mohamed Salem al-Kholani, said in press statements.
The wanted elements were later identified as personnel from the 35th brigade, thus growing tensions triggered escalation and limited clashes portending fiercer fighting in a heavily-populated area.
On Tuesday, Taiz Governor Nabil Shamsan (a partisan of the General People's Congress) failed to defuse the escalation, with Islah gunmen refusing to withdraw from the 35th brigade's site where clashes erupted between both sides, according to sources at the governor's office.
"Troops from the 35th brigade, led by the unit's supply officer Adel al-Hamadi, positioned themselves on the two mountains of Sabaran and Baihan as well as other sites," Islah media reported, dubbing the move as "a dangerous sign to seize al-Turba in favor of Tariq Saleh forces."
According to Islah account, Gen Tariq Saleh has visited a number of Hojaria in order to prepare for "an imminent battle against Islah under Emirati orders."
These remarks, however, have been criticized by activists opposing Islah, most of them Nasserites, who accused the party of "stirring chaos in Turba" and called on its "militias" to head for and liberate the other side of Taiz city besieged by the Houthi group.
Early on Wednesday, tens of Islah supporters staged a rally in Taiz calling for an end to the "blockade imposed by Emirati-backed forces on the governorate's coasts, the strategic port of Mocha in particular," hinting at guards of the republic forces led by Tariq Saleh.
Prior to or in coincidence with any military move by the party, Islah activists always hold a rally, like that in which they accused the Saudi-led coalition of diverting from its military intervention's goal and seeking to overthrow the legitimate government.
While the Islah campaigners called for Taiz siege be lifted and western coasts and ports be restored, Nasserite, Socialist and Baath parties urged the Yemeni Parliament's speaker, prime minister and political leaders to assume their national duty and stop disorder experienced by Taiz.
Its losses due to applying the Riyadh Agreement and related negotiations in Saudi Arabia have made the Islah party recklessly deploy troops in Turba town to seize 35th brigade's sites on the pretext of a security campaign chasing 3 accused, according to observers.
Based on the recent developments, Turba would likely witness armed conflict for which Islah would be responsible, particularly as the 35th brigade's personnel believe that their unit was targeted by the party's campaign.
While opponents accuse Islah of trying to take full control of authority in Taiz, the party dubs other political powers involved in the Yemeni legitimate government as "gangs serving foreign parties.